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Friday, 6 December 2019 at 3:35pm
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Thread: Is it OK to have a PhD thesis with shortcomings and inaccuracies?

19-May-20, 16:37
edited about 2 minutes later
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posted about 2 weeks ago
I recently defended my PhD thesis and was awarded a pass with some minor corrections. I am due to submit the final version of my thesis in 2 months time from now.

The examiners were both very happy with my thesis, which explains the final verdict. However, as the saying goes, no one understands a thesis better than its author, as he/she is the person who was invested in it for years. When polishing the papers to send for publication, my supervisor and I found a major issue with the thesis, which although it does not invalidate the overall results, it would change a significant portion of the methodology in my thesis. While I am currently addressing these issues for publication, it has to led to severe depression and has made me feel inadequate as a researcher. I worked incredibly hard and had a particularly difficult PhD process; so it is difficult for me to find that at this stage (post defense) I am submitting a thesis that is predicated on a methodology that should have been approached enirely differently. This in turn has caused a feeling of despair and inadequacy.

I spoke to a friend who is now working as a associate professor and he comforted me by saying that irreproducibility, inaccuracies, and mistakes both major and minor are very common in PhD theses and that I should not beat myself up for this and that the said PhD title is well deserved. However, I thought I ask for some second opinion.

Thread: Terrified of failing my PhD.

06-Dec-19, 15:57
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posted about 6 months ago
Dear All,

I am new to the PG forum, though I have been following the posts here for over 4 years now. I am 4 years and 2 months into my PhD in Mathematical Economics at a top 5 UK university, which by UK standards this is quite long. However, I am due to submit my thesis this month.

My supervisor comes from the North American system and himself had been supervised by a very famous econometrician. Therefore, unlike most of my colleagues, I found myself to be almost completely independent throughout the process, as he rightly believes that this is the correct way to supervise a PhD student. While he has a general idea of what I am doing and has 'scanned' through the maths, he is not particularly an expert in the areas I have been working on.

Even though I've had doubts about my methods and maths, until September I never even exercised the idea of failing my PhD (by fail I imply MPhil or an R&R verdict). We had only heard of one case in my department in the 5 years that I've been there and everyone considers the Viva more of a formality. However, I started getting paranoid when I Googled the terms 'failed PhD'. Alone on this form there are numerous such entries, with people seeming to have ended up with an MPhil or have had horrific experiences.

I am frequently told that such verdict is highly unlikely. I am told that my supervisor is very well-recognized and that he would never let that happen. I've been told that the external examiner (especially in a case such as a well connected supervisor like mine) tends to be a friend of the supervisor, and as such if my supervisor thinks I am PhD worthy, then there will be no issues.

However, with nagging doubts about certain areas of my thesis and having read these horror stories on this forum, I am freaking out.

I would like to hear some advice, as to how to deal with this situation.
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